[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chaplin-charlie.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[TheCutie Awww!]]]]

[[KnightFever Sir]] Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin KBE (April 16, 1889 -- December 25, 1977) was the first world-famous movie star, a respected movie writer, director, editor, producer and composer. He remains one of the most recognizable icons of the silver screen today.


Growing up in poverty with his brother, Sydney, with a mother who was a failed Music Hall entertainer of declining mental health, the brothers worked themselves up until he became a star stage comedian himself. On an American tour, He was hired by Keystone Studios and began starring in low budget one-reeler comedies in 1914. By the end of the year, he had starred in 35 movies, many of which he directed as well, and was known around the world. By 1916, he would work for the more prestigious Mutual Studios and would be the writer, director, star, editor, and producer of his own comedy films. In 1919, he co-founded Creator/UnitedArtists - one of the major film studios that still operates today. He would continue making entertaining and influential comedies, which experimented with more dramatic stories amid the comedy.

He is best known for the character of '''Charlot''' or '''The Tramp''', a poor, downtrodden man who nevertheless takes on life with vim and alacrity, defeating the bully/policemen/figure of authority and getting the girl before [[RidingIntoTheSunset walking into the sunset]].

Outside of films, Chaplin was quite politically active, although this never directly showed itself in his films until ''Film/TheGreatDictator''. A scathing satire of UsefulNotes/NaziGermany, the film closes off with a narrative-breaking AuthorTract delivered directly to the camera, in which Chaplin touches on many of his RealLife personal beliefs (it is incidentally widely considered to be one of the greatest speeches ever delivered). Accused of being a Communist sympathizer by the United States government after the end of World War II, he fled the country as a refugee in 1952 and lived the remainder of his life in Europe. As a result of his political beliefs, his last American film, ''Film/{{Limelight}}'', wasn't allowed to be released until 1972, twenty years after it was actually filmed, but the fact that it was not screened in Los Angeles before then allowed it to win a competitive Oscar for best music score for that year, which gave the Oscars an excuse to also honor Chaplin with a special award in a supreme moment of "burying the hatchet".

Chaplin's film career lasted from 1914 to 1967. Some of the films he produced include:
* ''Film/TheTramp''
* ''Film/TheRink''
* ''Film/EasyStreet''
* ''Film/TheCure''
* ''Film/TheImmigrant''
* ''Film/TheAdventurer''
* ''[[Film/ADogsLife A Dog's Life]]''
* ''Film/ShoulderArms''
* ''Film/TheIdleClass''
* ''Film/TheKid''
* ''Film/TheFireman''
* ''Film/PayDay''
* ''Film/ThePilgrim''
* ''Film/AWomanOfParis''
* ''Film/TheGoldRush''
* ''Film/TheCircus''
* ''Film/CityLights''
* ''Film/ModernTimes''
* ''Film/TheGreatDictator''
* ''Film/MonsieurVerdoux''
* ''Film/{{Limelight}}''
* ''Film/AKingInNewYork''

According to a memoir, ''My Life in Pictures'', published a year before his death, Chaplin was still planning movie projects right to the end.

Being arguably the first major film comedian, he is responsible for establishing countless comedy tropes. Many of his descendants followed him into the acting world, including his granddaughter Creator/OonaChaplin. Daughter Geraldine Chaplin actually played her own grandmother in Sir Richard Attenborough's 1992 {{Biopic}} ''Chaplin'', in which the man himself is played by Creator/RobertDowneyJr in one of his best-regarded performances, though the film ends with a montage of footage of the unparalled original.

!! Tropes invoked by his films and the man himself:

* {{Adorkable}}: His Tramp persona in his movies.
* BadassMoustache
* BanisterSlide
* BittersweetEnding: Very few clear-cut happy endings in Chaplin's work.
* BrickJoke
* BucketBoobyTrap
* ButtMonkey
* TheChewToy: The Tramp's role in every single movie.
* ChummyCommies: He's one of the greatest and most famous comedians of all time, brought laughs to millions, and was generally known as kind-hearted, friendly, charismatic, and an all-around decent guy. He was also completely open and completely unapologetic about being ''very'' far over on the left side of the political spectrum (to be specific, an anarcho-syndicalist).
* CouldntFindALighter: In ''Shoulder Arms'', Chaplin in the trenches of WWI holds the cigarette over the trench gets a light from a helpful enemy sniper.
* TheDanza: His characters usually have NoNameGiven, so all the audience can call him is Charlie. Or TheTramp. Or Charlot.
* DashinglyDapperDerby
* DirectedByCastMember: Chaplin started out as a player with Mack Sennett's studio before becoming mega-popular and striking out on his own. Ultimately, after leaving Sennett the only films in which he didn't both direct and star were a handful of films that starred somebody else.
* DirtyCommunist: Was accused of being one, and eventually had to leave the country and live in Europe. He was actually an anarcho-syndicalist, which was just as bad during the RedScare.
* DoggedNiceGuy
* DoingItForTheArt: Chaplin was notorious as being a maddeningly perfectionist filmmaker. For instance, he made his leading lady, Edna Purviance, do so many takes eating beans that she was physically ill. To his credit, Chaplin was even rougher on himself; he did his famous boot eating scene in ''Film/TheGoldRush'' so many times that he had to go to the hospital afterward.
* DumbMuscle: Allowing wily Charlie to defeat him.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In his film debut, the short film ''Making a Living'', Charlie appears as a con artist wearing a top hat with a drooping mustache. His iconic Tramp character debuted in Chaplin's second film, ''Kid Auto Races at Venice''. Perhaps more surprisingly, in his first ''feature'' film, ''Tillie's Punctured Romance'', made in late 1914 after the Tramp had become a huge breakout character, Charlie again plays a cynical con-artist type instead of the Tramp.
* EatingShoes: TropeNamer in ''Film/TheGoldRush''.
* [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Everyone Calls Him The Little Tramp/Charlot]]
* EvilElevator: Possibly the first filmmaker to use malfunctioning mechanics such as elevators as gags.
* HallOfMirrors: in ''The Circus''. Maybe the earliest use of this trope?
* TheHeavy: 11 of the 12 Mutual films feature Eric Campbell as an intimidatingly large BigBad and a comic foil to the tramp's antics
* HotPursuit: The Tramp often crossing paths with the police, resulting in hilarious chase scenes (a holdover trope from Mack Sennett). Police chase scenes of note include ones from ''Film/TheKid'', ''Film/TheCircus'', and ''Film/ADogsLife''.
* IconicItem: His bowler hat, big shoes, toothbrush moustache and bamboo cane.
* InstantSeduction: In his autobiography, he mentions that a girl staying next to him flirted with him by knocking on the wall a few times. He went to meet her and within three lines, they "engaged nocturnally." Awesome.
* KickTheDog: Often the 'dog' is Charlie himself, other times a dog is literally kicked, such as in the short ''Sunnyside''.
* KnightFever: Was first proposed for knighthood in 1931, and then in 1956, when it was vetoed because of his marriages to much-younger women, as well as his leftist political views. He was finally created a [[OverlyLongName Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire]] by [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen Queen Elizabeth II]] in 1975, two years before he died.
* LiteralAssKicking: lots of it. The Tramp in particular seems unable to let a good rump go by unkicked.
* MayDecemberRomance: Chaplin married Oona O'Neill when she was 18 and he was 54.
* MassiveNumberedSiblings: Eleven kids, yo.
* MissingEpisode:
** ''Her Friend The Bandit'' (1914).
** ''A Woman of the Sea'', directed by him in 1926 but in which he did not appears, is also lost; due to legal problems Chaplin was facing at the time, he was not allowed to release the film. In 1933, Chaplin himself was forced to destroy the only known copies of the film and its negative.
* MeatOVision: In ''Film/TheGoldRush''. An anecdote says that the extra performing in the chicken suit couldn't get The Tramp's distinctive walk just right, and eventually Chaplin had to do it himself.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' made a not-so-thinly veiled attack on Nazis in 1940 when not only were the Nazis still in power, but America was officially at peace with them.
* NiceHat: Just try imagining the tramp without His trademark Bowler hat
* NoEnding: If it wasn't a BittersweetEnding it was probably this.
* NoNameGiven: For almost every character in his movies.
* NonspecificallyForeign: The Tramp is seldom refered to by name, but when he is given a name in the inter-titles it's either "Charlie" or "Charlot", implying perhaps that he is intended to be French. The singing scene in ''ModernTimes'', the only time the character actually 'speaks' on film, sees him singing a nonsense language that sounds [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign somewhere between Italian and French]].
* PerpetualPoverty: The Tramp, although he occasionally comes into money during the course of a movie. See [[spoiler:Film/TheGoldRush]].
* PintSizedPowerhouse
* PlayingAgainstType: As TheBluebeard SerialKiller in ''Monsieur Verdoux''.
** Directing Against Type with ''Film/AWomanOfParis'', in which Charlie took a break from doing slapstick comedies in which he also starred, and instead directed an entirely serious romantic drama in which he had only a brief cameo. The idea was to establish his former comic leading lady Edna Purviance as a dramatic actress. It failed, and Purviance retired from film shortly thereafter.
* ThePratfall: featured in many of his works.
* PrettyBoy: Just [[http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2009/3/5/1236264277446/Charlie-Chaplin-001.jpg look]] at young Chaplin!
* PrimaDonnaDirector: See [[http://books.google.com/books?id=DpPjHbz3FrUC&pg=PA516&dq=isn%27t+that+easy+sidney&hl=en&ei=pFrwTNeDOoaesQOVqty4Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false this anecdote]], from MarlonBrando of all people.
** Allegedly, the scene in ''Film/TheCircus'' in which the Tramp walks a tightrope took ''600 takes'' before Chaplin was satisfied with it.
* ProductionPosse:
** Eric Campbell played the bad guy in 11 of Chaplin's 12 short films with Mutual and probably would have done more with Chaplin if he hadn't been killed in a car accident in 1917.
** Edna Purviance made her film debut in in 1915 with ''A Night Out'', Chaplin's second movie after leaving Mack Sennett, and played the LoveInterest and/or female lead in almost every picture Chaplin made for the next eight years. He also attempted to help her launch a dramatic acting career, without success. Often considered Chaplin's true soulmate, even though they never married, Chaplin kept her on his payroll for the rest of her life.
** Henry Bergman joined Chaplin's company in 1916 and worked with Charlie both onscreen and in production for the next 24 years.
** Roland Totherot was Charlie's cinematographer for 32 years, 1915-1947 (and got a "photographic consultant" credit for ''Limelight'' in 1952).
* PublicDomainCharacter: The Tramp.
* RealLifeRelative: Chaplin ended up marrying a startling number of the women he co-starred with, divorcing them soon after.
** Chaplin's son, Michael Chaplin, plays the precocious Rupert Macabee in ''AKingInNewYork''.
** Chaplin's son, Sydney Chaplin, has an important role in ''Film/{{Limelight}}''.
** Two of Chaplin's best known films - ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' and ''Film/ModernTimes'' - star PauletteGoddard, who was either living with him or married to him at the time.
** Ironically, his longest lasting marriage was to someone he never appeared on screen with, Oona O'Neill.
* RedOniBlueOni: Red to Creator/BusterKeaton. At least when it came to their characters.
* RidingIntoTheSunset: An ending used in many of his films as the tramp, when at the end he would be seen walking down a street into the sunset, alone or along with the female lead. Fittingly, the last of his Tramp movies, ''Film/ModernTimes'', ends this way.
* RomanceOnTheSet: Practically every film he made from 1915 to 1940, with the exception of ''City Lights''.
* SilenceIsGolden: Several silent film greats faded into obscurity with the arrival of talkies, but not Chaplin; he continued to make silent films (''Film/CityLights'', ''Film/ModernTimes'' which has very little dialogue) and had success with them. It would take until 1940's ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' before TheTramp would speak intelligibly (and there remains great debate as to whether the character Chaplin plays in this film is the Tramp).
* TheShelfOfMovieLanguishment: ''Film/{{Limelight}}'' sat on the shelf in the US for ''two decades'' due to accusations of his being a communist sympathizer (it was released in the UK and elsewhere without issue). It was eventually released in the US 1972.
* SpeakingSimlish: Chaplin's Tramp character never spoke a word until 1936's ''Film/ModernTimes'', where he gets a job as a singer. But he's forgotten the words, so he sings complete gibberish instead. Chaplin liked the fact that silent comedy crossed all language barriers and so didn't want to limit the Tramp to one language for his only speaking scene.
* StrictlyFormula: This was Chaplin's main misgiving about his period with Mutual: he felt his films there were drifting to this trope, as he noted "Does every film have to end with a chase?"
* TakeThat: After repeatedly being "accused" of being Jewish, he finally retorted, "I'm afraid I ''don't'' have that honor."
* TheTramp: His basic character archetype.
* WalkingTheEarth: The Tramp gets around.
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: At the height of his fame, Chaplin entered a Tramp lookalike contest in San Francisco and lost. He was not wearing a costume, however, and the judges probably recognized him.

!!Charlie Chaplin {{Shout Out}}s in fiction:
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': In the episode "Emperor Joker!", one of the Joker's {{mook}}s is a [[http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/2443740.html huge, muscular version of Chaplin]].
* Several WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes either have caricatures of Chaplin or a character trying to imitate Chaplin (such as DaffyDuck in ''Hollywood Daffy'').
* Chaplin makes an animated cameo in the silent short ''FelixInHollywood''.
* [[{{Hanna-Barbera}} Hanna and Barbera]] have said that Chaplin was a big influence on the slapstick and mostly wordless comedy in ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry''. Jerry sometimes displays the same mannerisms as Chaplin.'
* In the film ''Film/BennyAndJoon'', Creator/JohnnyDepp's character, a silent film enthusiast and CloudCuckoolander, reenacts the 'bread roll dance' Chaplin does with his forks in ''Film/TheGoldRush'', among a few more of Chaplin's routines and mannerisms.
* Film/{{Zombieland}} briefly features a zombie Chaplin cosplayer once the main characters reach Hollywood.
* He makes a brief cameo in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' episode "Silent Treatment", where the girls get trapped in a silent movie. His appearance is perhaps modeled after his cameo in ''FelixInHollywood''.
* In the fourth ''Series/BlackAdder'' series, we learn that Edmund really, really hates Chaplin films, and of course, everyone else likes them. He sends Chaplin some hate mail, and the actor responds with a letter to General Melchett suggesting they have a big comedy film festival, with Edmund specifically requested for projectionist.